(My Attempt of) Banning Plastic at Home: Change starts from within

https://nypost.com/2019/07/02/bali-officially-bans-all-single-use-plastic-to-curb-ocean-pollution/

“Bali officially bans all single-use plastic to curb ocean pollution” – New York Post

This reminds me slightly of Singapore. A small island setting an example for the rest of the world. Singapore, with its textbook economic policies that it trials on its citizens and other countries eagerly observe and critique. Bali has set an example by taking action with a policy to curb marine pollution, hoping to reduce waste added by 70% this year. With a population a million shy of Singapore’s, Bali decided to enforce this plastic ban for all corporations with a six month transition period for corporations to switch to a material that is no longer single use.

Single-use plastic is one of the biggest polluters, but what some of the opposition to this law said was that companies would switch to another cheap but just as unsustainable material, causing little net change, therefore. However, most countries have been swayed too much by politics to take such a strong step, maybe not effective, but still in the right direction as Bali has. There may be some underlying fallacies in the policy, but it is still admirable as it adds to the gravity of the situation. The longer we wait, as everyone has heard before, the more drastic our measures have to be.

https://qz.com/1637676/on-world-oceans-day-the-seas-are-awash-in-plastic-pollution/

I won’t delve too much into ocean pollution as I could go on and on about it, but the above article is a good read. I mention the article, because, in the article, an environmentalist mentions that plastic straws and grocery bags are not the biggest culprits for the embarrassing nature of our oceans, but more the corporations. Another study I read also said that plastic straws were not a big deal, taking up only around 2 to 3% of the total plastic waste. It was just spurred into the media because they found straws in a turtle and this drove up social media’s attention. I, after reading such an article, was one of those people. I found a pack of bamboo straws on Amazon and ordered two. I then went on a spiel to my half dozing family members that we must stop consuming and purchasing plastic straws.

I also made sure to make it a habit in my family to take recyclable grocery bags when out shopping and doing the groceries. Less plastic! Trying to implement these changes in my six people family was so difficult and tiring for me. Like Sisyphus, the amount of inertia among us, creatures of habit, is astounding and annoying. It makes me worried if we, as a global community, will be able to amend our ways.

When I was young I knew I wanted to work with marine life or for the seas.  That has changed now to something more in line with my favorite subjects. I hope that in the future I could use whatever skills I acquire in Data Science, or AI learning, or electrical engineering for this cause that I am so passionate about.

Coding for Good – SWOT + New members

In Coding for Good we did very little advertisement but were still able to  get 10 new members. They all seemed interested and something that Coding for Good is very happy about is its high retention rate. We guess that this is because people who sign up are very interested in engineering and design and find that this is what Coding for Good offers and so want to stay. Moreover, everyone in our club is very friendly and open. The way Mr. Kann runs it is kind of like an open environment where students are free to do what they want in groups and they can ask help and learn together.

We conducted a SWOT analysis which actually differs from our usual club sessions. This is because the schedule of club is very flowing and usually not structured. Differing from this, it was strange but it was nice to see how everyone came together and worked for the better of the service. I am linking the docs below.

Badminton Initial Reflection

Learning a new sport is really fun and I enjoy it. However, there are also many things that I found difficult. The motions are a bit difficult and since I have just started playing I am not that comfortable in those stances. Moreover, during rally’s your neck needs to be craned high for long periods of time. I am not used to this and so I will have to work on this. Moreover, I am not that used to move around the court. I have never been used to playing on courts as throughout my childhood I am more used to spatial awareness in fields. I was actually quite good at my spatial awareness on a field. I was good at it because I played football and my position became central defense for most of my childhood. I really enjoyed playing football and I try and play it whenever I can nowadays since I don’t want to lose contact with the sport. It is just so much fun to play and I am really thankful that I was part of a competitive team from young as this has helped me develop a fighting and competitive spirit. It has also helped me become a team player as I had to always be aware of where I am relative to the ball and also where my team players are.

In badminton, it is just me on one court. This huge difference has been a struggle for me to adapt to but I am enjoying the challenge. My calves aren’t as worn out as they would have been if I had taken up football this year, that’s for sure. Badminton, on the other hand, strains my biceps and core more. Badminton players must be very deft and agile to move around the court quickly. One of the largest differences I have found that has been the biggest struggle in my transition to Badminton is the time length. In football, I am used to playing for the long term – starting out slow, then a very intense play before break and intense to slow again. My brain has been trained to endure long sessions of playing and as a defensive player, I was never trained on having to score. As I got older, I started playing some more central, and I played attack once or twice in games just before I left the sport. It is a very different mindset and I enjoy both. In badminton, the games are much shorter, lasting 2 or 3 minutes. I was not aware of this. I have had to change how I play and think about competitive games because of this.

SheLeads w Ruki Roy: Reflection

SheLeads was an event that I found out through Coding for Good. It was an event where the organizer Ruki Roy reached out to her contacts for help. Coding for Good was part of helping build their website and part of their advertising team. The event was a conference aimed towards young female aspiring engineers; Ruki made sure, however, to not make the event exclusive and not only catered towards girls. Ruki reached out to a ton of different inspiring speakers whom she video conferenced in. The impressive list includes a former NASA director, NASA engineers, and Georgia Tech and Standford current students. (The poster I created is below) She is an aeronautical engineering student at Georgia Tech with a Brooke Owens Fellowship. I found this event very cool and chose to help organize this event.

I think that I took a lot away from this event. I could not help but draw comparisons to Coding for Goods Hackathon. There was so much I learnt from watching Ruki lead the event – she was filled with confidence and was not scared at all. Things went wrong and she took it in her stride. I found this very inspiring. There are plans for next year, and it looks like Coding for Good will be taking a larger role in this. Things to take away were the advertising had to be better and the audience should have probably been a bit more filtered and perhaps more mature.

Coding for Good: Local Service Leadership Goals and Aims

Here is a folder showing evidence of some of the impact I have had on this service.

I really wanted to join this service this year, regardless if I was selected to be a leader or not. Thankfully, I was selected. I have enjoyed the past year of attending C4g (Coding for Good) and so wanted to continue it. I found that last year it was a really hands-on course and I learned a lot of stuff through the tutorials that Mr. Kann provided. I found out only this year in my HL/SL comp sci class that it was used in the introductory lessons for the HL comp sci students when they first learn Java and creating GUIs. This helped me become comfortable and knowledgeable on some of the software.

This year as a leader I entered with a goal to help spread the word about this service. I thought it was a very admirable service with a lot of potential.

Initial Reflection: Kolkata GC

I have been part of Kolkata since the beginning of High School and its Middle School counterpart: I-India. I have a lot of love and passion for this cause and so always wanted to continue working in this service trying to help the NGO in Kolkata as much as possible. In Grade 7, I think I joined the GC for a very jejune reason, which was connecting the dots that as I am Indian, I should, therefore, join a GC with the name “India” in it. This was purely the only deciding factor in my choice. To offer some defense, I did not really know anything about other GCs as well and so went with I-India. That may have been the reason that I joined, but was far from the reason that I stayed. In hindsight, I wonder what would have happened if I went with my other interest – preventing marine biodiversity loss, aquatic pollution, dissuading sea show patrons, really anything to do with the sea was a zealous interest of mine – and not join this GC that has now been a part of my life for more than four years.

Starting 11th grade, I was interested in pursuing a leadership role in this GC due to my knowledge of how it works and to further showcase my enthusiasm for the cause. I have always had an interest in finance and so took part in tracking the GCs finances last year under the leadership of an 11th grader (12th grader now). I am eager to continue my finance leader role this year and make sure this GC keeps track of its funds and remains a beau idéal for GC’s finance. I have so far, not explicitly taken part in the actual dance part of the GC, but have preferred to more work behind the scenes. This year I am thinking that I do want to get up on the stage and do something. I also want to offer some of my skills as an ex Graphics student by perhaps making some posters to draw even more attention to our main event: Kahaani. I also feel that I am a walking advocate for the show, Kahaani, as it seems that intertwining conversations regarding service, I always seem to find myself yelling “Sign up for Kahaani!”. Now that sign-ups are over, I intrinsically see my self changing the cheer slightly to “Go watch Kahaani!”

I am looking forward to the event to take place and be a success, as it always is, thanks to the deft leadership of the dance leaders and GC chairs. A goal I have for our GC is that perhaps we could be less dependent on this one event and branch out to other smaller events as well to help keep our GC more sustainable and proactive throughout the year. This is similar to an overarching aim the Service Exec, which I am part of, has.

I am also committed to making sure that Kolkata GC reaches the digital age with fervor. As I am a leader in Coding for Good, I know there is a project regarding the GCs website and making it clean and published. I need to make sure this is completed and ready. To achive that means clear communication.

As a finance leader, I need to make sure that I am always organized and communicate clearly with the chairs and relevant members in the GC. I will write another post when Kahaani is closer to see what has changed, regarding my role and my thoughts.

Choosing Activities Reflection

It is the fourth week of school and activities and services have officially started. Choosing activities this year was difficult for me as there were so many options to choose from. Here is my rationale to all the activities I wanted to join and why my reasoning behind joining or not joining.

MUN

  • After two years of fruitful debate, I decided to not sign up for MUN in my final IB years.

Coding for Good

  • Easy one. I had been a part of this the year before, enjoyed it greatly, and so wanted to continue.

IFP

  • Looked really interesting. I love peace and am a sucker for social entrepreneurship.

Investment Society

  • Been a part of it since Grade 9. Committed to it and do have a “side” interest for investing; find it an interesting and exciting way to earn money, analyzing markets and currencies.

Pre-Season Badminton

  • Even though I have been playing soccer since I was little, I think it was time to try a new sport. I have been playing outside of school for some time now and have enjoyed it.

Alumni Club

  • I also am a sucker for organizing! This seemed like a fun way to meet people and take a leadership role in hosting and planning large events which I enjoy.

Kolkata GC

  • Again, have been part of since Grade 9. Also have been part of its counter-part “I-India” since middle school. Deeply passionate about the cause and highly involved.

TEDx

  • After doing my first (ever!) public speech, I wanted to continue the journey. This year I signed up to help host and lead TEDx instead of being a speaker. Wanted to try an be on the other side of the fence.

Graphics Club

  • Love graphics. I miss doing an art – as I am going completely “art-less” for these two years, I wanted to keep my hobby and passion for it going. Even if it is one hour a week, at least I wont forget everything I have been so naturally passionate about and regret it later.